Major upgrade. The first of the Naval Air Systems Command's 15 E-6B Mercury aircraft has been sent to Boeing Aerospace Support Center at Cecil Field, Fla., to be outfitted with an advanced communications system and new cockpit.

The E-6B, a modified Boeing 707 used as an airborne command post for U.S. strategic forces, provides command, control and communications links between the president, Defense Department secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The aircraft receives and transmits voice and data messages, according to a NAVAIR release.

The communications upgrade includes the Secure IP Router Network and Nonsecure IP Router Network, two separate onboard servers for classified and unclassified access to servers on the ground via LAN communications links, and an uplink for satellite communications.

The aircraft modifications will be completed in August. All other E-6Bs will be upgraded with the communications package by December 2005.

The modification, including the multifunction display system, automated data processing and demand-assigned multiple access, will cost less than $13 million per aircraft, according to Navy officials.

Allied leader. President Bush last month nominated Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. to be the new supreme allied commander for transformation.

Giambastiani is the commander of the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va. The command conducts joint training exercises and develops new technologies that promote systems interoperability among the services. Before overseeing the Joint Forces Command, he served as senior military assistant to Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

If approved by the Senate, Giambastiani would remain in command of the JFC in addition to taking over responsibility for transformation. As supreme allied commander for transformation, he would be responsible for promoting interoperability between U.S. military systems and those of allied countries, in much the same way as he now does for the Joint Forces Command.

The NATO commander position is new. Allied Command'Transformation is being established to help the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance develop a more flexible structure, according to NATO Secretary Gen. Lord George Robertson.

Games lab. The Joint Forces Command opened a 10,000-square-foot laboratory in Suffolk, Va., earlier this month to conduct live and virtual war games.

The Distributed Continuous Experimentation Environment facility includes workstations and meeting rooms that will let military agencies conduct seminars, workshops and war games with participants located all over the world, Joint Forces officials said.

The command also held a new war-gaming experiment, Pinnacle Impact 03, a joint-forces exercise designed to analyze how U.S. and allied forces will fight future wars.

For more details about the new lab, go to

Patient tracking. The Navy is using radio identification tags to track the status and location of hundreds of wounded soldiers and airmen, prisoners of war and refugees in Iraq as they receive treatment at Fleet Hospital Pensacola, a mobile medical facility based in Florida.

Developed by ScenPro Inc. of Richardson, Texas, the Tactical Medical Coordination System lets Navy medical workers in Iraq use wristbands that emit a radio signal to identify patients.
Hospital staff members use the ID system to update patients' status, location and medical history, according to a ScenPro press release.

'When the Fleet Hospital Pensacola came to us at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory looking for a system that would help streamline administration, patient ID and tracking while engaged in Iraq, we knew that TacMedCS would be a most effective solution,' said Michael Stiney, the Navy's program manager for development of TacMedCS.

Each patient at the hospital receives a radio-frequency ID Smart Band, manufactured by Precision Dynamics Corp. of San Fernando, Calif., on which basic identifying information is stored.

Medical personnel use handheld radio-frequency readers from A.C.C. Systems Inc. of Glen Head, N.Y., to read the unique ID number and create a digital record of treatment that travels with the patient as he or she is moved throughout the facility.

The system uses a wireless LAN through which information is transferred to an electronic data management system.

Digital acquisition. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency recently deployed a Web system that automates the intelligence agency's procurement processes.

In March, NIMA's Procurement and Contracts Office began using the PRISM Web module, developed by Compusearch Software Systems, Inc. of Dulles, Va., to streamline its business processes, officials said. The system will be available to all NIMA offices by the end of August.

PRISM lets employees in NIMA program offices generate contract requirement packages and purchase requests online from anywhere in the world. They can also check the status of their requirements through PRISM's query process.

The procurement system also enables contractors to submit electronic invoices.


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